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2064: Read Only Memories

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One
Genre: Adventure
Developer: MidBoss Games
Release Date: Aug. 14, 2018


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Switch Review - '2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL'

by Fran Soto on Oct. 5, 2018 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

2064: Read Only Memories is a Cyberpunk adventure game set in Neo-SF, 2064 starring awesome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender characters.

Buy 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL

Fans of the cyberpunk and visual novel genres can rejoice now that 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL has made its way to the Nintendo Switch. Developer MidBoss' futuristic visual novel has received critical acclaim since its original launch in 2015 on the PC, with the title moving onto other consoles since then. Now MidBoss has decided to add the Switch to that list of playable consoles, with additional behind-the-scenes exclusive content. ROM has already solidified itself as a fantastic visual novel with point-and-click elements, but it really finds a creative home on the Switch. With added touch and HD Rumble functionality, ROM makes use of the Switch's features as a creative vehicle for a modern classic.

ROM is a cyberpunk murder mystery that takes players through Neo-SF in the year 2064. By this point in the future, cybernetic technology, gene splicing and augmentation are the norm. Humans have even created Relationship and Organizational Managers, or ROMs, to help with daily function. These little robots come in all shapes and sizes and serve as walking, talking computers with synthetic intelligence. However, in a world of such advanced technology, true artificial intelligence has yet to be made. While ROMs have programs that allow them to interact with humans, their intelligence is pre-programmed and not organic. True AI is seen as science fiction in this technologically advanced period.

We play as our own, self-made protagonist in ROM. We are asked to process our name, pronouns, and even dietary restrictions. Such choices in character creation truly allow us to put ourselves in the game however we want. Its clever use of multiple pronoun choices is an important move toward inclusion. We are a struggling journalist taking on freelance work to make ends meet, and we stumble upon a mysterious plot devised by corporations and the scientific community at large. One morning, we awake to find a little ROM standing in our bedroom. Much to our surprise, this ROM knows who we are and that we have a connection to their creator. It turns out that the creator of this little buddy is a good friend who we haven't seen in years. This isn't just a simple reunion, though, as the ROM details that its creator has gone missing and might have been kidnapped. We agree to help and learn very quickly that this ROM isn't actually as standard as other robotic assistants in the world.

We find out their name is Turing, and they are the first, truly artificial intelligent being. This little bot's name is a delightful play on the Turing Test, developed by Alan Turing in the 1950s to evaluate a machine's behavior to seem indistinguishable from that of a human. Turing has emotions and cognitive ability that are truly human-like. Because of their rare abilities, Turing thinks this could be the reason why their creator, Hayden, was targeted. After going through all of Hayden's contacts, Turing landed on us to help. Not wanting to leave the little bot on their own, we set out in search of Hayden together.

Immediately, the title displays excellent dialogue with witty text throughout. We normally have the options to look, touch, speak and use an item on people and the environment. While it may not seem plausible to speak to a plant, for example, doing so produces hilarious commentary. This is a title that doesn't take itself too seriously and finds solid moments for comedic timing. A fully voice-acted script gives life to many of the witticisms and brings a respectful level of attention to detail to the title. The voice acting is superb, and we can get a feel for the characterizations of the cast we meet along the way.

Set in the backdrop of a futuristic era, ROM utilizes crisp visuals and sound design with a retro touch. This retro-futuristic contrast creates a memorable experience with charming atmosphere. Detailed sprite characters make up the environment, and interacting with them pulls up a fully animated portrait. When characters talk, their mouths move and facial expressions match their dialogue. It's an excellent connection between voice acting and character models. Thanks to the Switch's HD Rumble, we can often feel character emotions as well, providing added dimensionality. When a character is angry, we may feel a sharp rumble in the controllers. Characters expressing sadness are accompanied by a faint rumble. It's a small detail that gives more depth to the title. Even interacting successfully with items in the world causes the controllers to rumble with successful fanfare. Along with the rumble comes touch functionality for easier use. I found myself using the touch function quite often, since the Joy-Cons are a little clunky with the title. I tended to overshoot my cursor quite often and wasn't able to land on exactly what I wanted. Utilizing the touch function made overall gameplay smoother to navigate.

ROM has a winding story with many twists and turns. It is cleverly intuitive, as we must often find clues and items to use with each other or the environment. Its gameplay is pretty standard of a click-and-point, with added puzzles peppered throughout. Despite its launch on the Switch, this version still holds the same incredibly standard play. One of the title's biggest criticisms is that it doesn't offer unique gameplay, and that still holds true. The Nintendo Switch version comes loaded with additional exclusive content for fans who can't get enough of the title. I spent quite a bit of time browsing the digital artbook. Concept art, musical selections and promotional items are in full galleries for our viewing pleasure. As someone who has a deep appreciation for sketches and concepts, it was a nice touch to receive a full developer package.

Just when I thought it couldn't get better, we also have an added chapter to play. This side chapter provides a richer exploration of the game and allows us to see part of the story that we originally could not view. While it doesn't add a large amount of length to the game, it's an added touch that makes the title worth investing on the Switch.

With as much awesome content that ROM has, its port to the Switch doesn't do anything new for the core game. We still have very basic play, and despite other characters in the world having detailed personalities and depth, our own protagonist doesn't have much other than witty quips and dialogue choices. The title is more of a visual novel with some point-and-click elements that aren't exactly engaging. However, great story and excellent environments help create a deeper sense of world-building.

2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL is a charming and captivating visual novel. It's a title that fits seamlessly with the Switch and makes clever use of the console's functions. The added touch of HD Rumble and touch functionality offer deeper gameplay options exclusively for the console. Additional exclusive content makes this the best version of ROM for first-timers or veteran fans of the title. While the core game is untouched with its gameplay flaws, it still brings a lot of love and attention to detail to the visual novel genre.

Score: 8.7/10

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